Why Do Tennis Players Grunt? Is it Normal?

We usually see this when a player is hitting the ball while playing tennis shouts or grunts. Regardless of male or female, they all shout when they hit the ball. But we have the question which is, “Why Do Tennis Players Grunt?”? Let’s know the reasons and the science behind them.

We commonly hear noises when sitting on the ground and watching a live tennis match. This is often termed as “shrieking/screaming/grunting”. In Spanish, it is known as ‘gruñidos’.

When a player swings the racket high in the air and hits the ball they make a loud crying noise.

Grunting in Tennis – What Does it mean?

Grunting means making a loud noise or screaming while hitting crazy tennis shots. This screaming also shows that the player is playing with passion and complete power.

Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Monica Seles, and many other players are known for grunting players. Especially, Maria Sharapova is known for her loudest grunts. She has one of the best tennis grunts over 100 decibels. 

Can we call her a noisy woman?

However, there are some specific reasons behind the grunting of players. The obvious reason is,  it is their game strategy and helps them to perform better in tennis.

But, Is grunting allowed in tennis?

Well, it is a little bit hard to say whether grunting is allowed or not. As it also depends on the scenario. However, sometimes, it may result in a penalty.

There are different reasons for grunting for every player. But I prefer grunting because it helps me keep the game in control and better performance. Every other player speaks of a different reason when he/she is playing.

Since their energy loses while playing, therefore, they put in extra effort to hit the ball. When it comes to tennis rules, a professional player can be punished in case the umpire thinks that he is grunting intentionally to distract the opponent.

No doubt, it is not easy to distract the opponent. However, if such an attempt is made by a player then he’ll be punished for it.

There is a long debate on the permission of grunting in tennis. As some players need to grunt during the match. On the other hand, some of them are against grunting.

For example, Maria Sharapova who is famous for grunting says, “it is not easy for me to stay quiet while playing“.

Nevertheless, a bunch of tennis players raise their noises while slapping the ball assuming they are going to win or lose.

In the end, I would say that grunting is not beneficial for everyone, however, it can also put a bad impression on the player’s fans.

Does grunting negatively impact an opponent?

Yes, grunting can have a negative impact on the opponent. The loud shouting tennis noise can distract the opponent which may result in losing points.

This means that grunting noise cannot be beneficial to the opponent as it diverts their attention from chasing the ball to hitting it.

Finally, it is not clear yet that grunting in tennis is illegal. Many players support this habit and others do not. Hence, different players have different opinions about it.

However, generally, tennis grunting is considered bad.

Why Do Tennis Players Grunt?

Why Do Tennis Players Grunt?

There are several reasons for players for shrieking during the match. This shows that grunting is beneficial sometimes but has a negative impression on the opponent as well.

Here are some of the reasons why tennis players grunt.

  1. Powerful Shot
  2. Distracting Opponent
  3. Confusing Opponent
  4. Slowing Down Competitor’s Reaction Speed
  5. Releasing Stress
  6. Confidence
  7. Habit
  8. Follow The Favorite Player

1. Powerful Shot

When the players grunt it helps them to make a powerful shot. According to the research, players who shriek while hitting the ball make more powerful shots than the ones who stay quiet. So, because of this, they think that the shot they are going to hit will be tough for their opponent.

2. Distracting Opponent

Each player has different tactics and strategies to win the game. Some players have the opinion that their grunt distracts their opponent as a result their reaction speed slows down.

3. Confusing Opponent

Most tennis strategies work based on how much can you confuse your opponent. So, shrieking is a kind of trick. Some people shout their voices out loud just to confuse the other competitor to win more points.

4. Slowing Down Competitor’s Reaction Speed

Raising loud noises can sometimes easily distract your opponent. Since the opponent is distracted, his/her reaction speed slows down.

5. Stress Releasing

We all have some tricks that we use when we are under stress, depressed or de-motivated. The same goes for tennis players. Many famous males and female tennis grunters shout during the match because shrieking helps them release their stress or tension.

6. More Confidence

It is said that making grunting during the game gives the player more confidence and control over the tennis match. They believe in “hit the ball as loud as you can“.

7. Habit

Some players shout habitually. They can’t help shrieking while hitting the ball. It is a very common characteristic in players of any sport. Moreover, it enhances their strength and rhythm while playing.

8. Junior Players Copy Seniors

Usually, the new players try to follow successful tennis players as an inspiration. Since the junior players get to learn a lot from their seniors therefore they copy their game tricks. So, grunting during the play is also copied.

It is therefore understood that most of the players from Monica Seles, and Serena Williams to Rafael Nadal in all of the male and female tennis matches make grunting noises. It expresses their passion for tennis.

The Science behind Grunting in Tennis

Grunting has a high impact and this is proved with a shred of clear evidence.  The science of grunting is that it helps them to play better and lets them hit the ball in their desired direction. Shrieking is similar to weight lifting. When you carry heavy weights you grunt!

This means that when you consume a lot of your energy you bear some pain in your muscles, as a result, enhancing the power of grunting helps to a great extent. The rate of velocity is increased to 3.4% than the quiet player.

Interesting Fact: According to research, grunting multiplies the ball velocity to 4.9%.

Are there any benefits of grunting?

Benefits of Grunting in Tennis

Grunting can be beneficial to some players but others do not go for this option during the match. Most of the time, players grunt to get the full benefits of their game.

I have observed that without the grunting noises of the players, the match is not that interesting and becomes a bit dry. Not only the players, but grunting also bring more passion to the fans.

The shouting of the players keeps their as well as the audience’s motivation level up. The audience on the court becomes more eager to watch the game till the end.

Apart from the negative influences of grunting, it has more positive impacts. Crying loud when a player swings the ball with his racket empowers his strength to make the desired shot.

The player becomes more confident about winning the match. Usually, the players shout when they are going to win a point or lose it. It helps them to keep high intensity and concentration on the ball.

Tennis Grunting Controversy

Some tennis commentators describe that the female grunt makes the match uninteresting because seems more like they are moaning.

A loud women’s grunt can have a bad impression on her fans. The shrill sound of the players is considered cheating.

Since it distracts the opponent, therefore, he/she may lose the point. Many senior players and commentators have made long debates opposing this characteristic in tennis players.

The loudest Grunts in Tennis

The loudest tennis grunts in tennis are of a female player Maria Sharapova. She made the loudest grunt during the matches.

According to her, it is not easy for her to play quietly and it helps her to produce good tennis.

Many female tennis grunters are mainly known as grunters. It is not a surprise if we say that the loud noises of females can make the match unwatchable.

Do you agree?

However, we also hear men grunting on the tennis court as well. For example, Rafael Nadal, a professional tennis player, screams a lot on the court.

Top Grunting Tennis Players

Top Grunting Tennis Players

Some of the USTA players do not grunt and groan intentionally but naturally. Although it is not easy to do this still they choose to shout.

It helps them in many ways especially in catching their breathing rhythm. Grunting can be good but a player should know how to grunt in tennis that is not irritating to the ears.

Some of the top grunting tennis players are:

  • Maria Sharapova
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Monica Seles
  • Victoria Azarenka
  • Elena Dementieva

However, if we just look at the list of best female tennis grunts then we have the following top 5 female players on our list.

  1. Michelle Larcher De Brito – Grunts at 109 Decibels
  2. Maria Sharapova – Grunts at 101 Decibels
  3. Monica Seles – Grunts at 93.2 Decibels
  4. Serena Williams – Grunts at 88.9 Decibels
  5. Venus Williams – Grunts at 85 Decibels

Summary – Final Thoughts on Tennis Grunting

My final thoughts on tennis grunting are favoring grunting during the match. I have seen that grunting helps players play with more power, confidence, and eagerness. On the other hand. it takes away the attention of the opponent and their visual attention from the ball. Therefore it is sometimes advantageous and sometimes not.

What do you think? Should grunting be allowed or banned in tennis? Is it good? Let us know your thoughts on why tennis players scream in the comments section below.


1. Who has the loudest grunt in tennis?

Maria Sharapova is the only one in tennis who has the loudest grunt so far. She has a record of grunting over 100 decibels. On second place comes Aryna Sabalenka.

2. Why do female tennis players grunt so much?

The simple answer is it’s natural. The other reason is, it helps them to focus on the game and create a rhythm of placing the ball where they want on the court.

3. Should tennis players grunt?

Well, it depends on the player and their nature of managing stress or excitement. However, grunting in tennis is discouraged most of the time. Because it can have a negative impact on the opponent’s game.

4. Who started the tennis grunt?

Jimmy Connors and Monica Seles seem to be the original grunt starters and later Maria Sharapova carried it further. Monica Seles’ grunt hardly reached 90 decibels while Sharapova has grunt near 101 decibels.

5. What does a grunt sound like?

Generally, a grunt is a high-pitched groan or moaning. It can be out of distress or excitement depending on the situation. Listen to Maria Sharapova’s screams to get the idea of grunting.

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1 thought on “Why Do Tennis Players Grunt? Is it Normal?”

  1. Baloney. Grunting is something you do when you are picking up a heavy box. It comes with effort. The shrieking we have to endure from the Sabalenka’s of the tennis world come long past the point of effort. Should be banned. Period


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